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18th December

 Petition: Release the full director's cut of Ken Russell's The Devils...

Petitioning Warner Bros. US
Link Here

the devils In 1971, the late, great Ken Russell's masterpiece The Devils was released in a highly censored form. The film was shredded to pieces by censors, who removed several scenes, including one that Russell himself referred to as the heart of the film.

Although versions of the film have been released since then, Russell's full director's cut has never been issued on DVD.

It is ridiculous that after 44 years, Warner Bros still refuse to release the director's cut. Ken Russell was a hugely significant filmmaker, and The Devils was his magnum opus.

Warner Bros, you have no right to deny us of the director's cut of the film. High profile figures like film critic Mark Kermode and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro have demanded the director's cut, and so do we.

Everybody deserves the right to access this film in its full form. To have it denied its audience is unwarranted censorship of the most extreme and groundless form.

Sign the petition


18th December

 Extract: Unreported outcome of Ofcom getting involved in blasphemy case...

Ofcom rules that a Pakistani news channel that sided with a religious lynch mob against GEO TV, should have also reported the views of the accused
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas
geo tv logo Sometimes Ofcom has an unenviable job. The TV censor investigated complaints about one sided news reporting on the ARY News channel of a massively important blasphemy case against another Pakistani news channel, GEO TV, which was accused of blasphemy.

ARY News, 15-16th May 2014

ARY News broadcasts news and provides general entertainment programming, in Urdu and English, to the Pakistani community in the UK.

Six complainants alerted Ofcom to four news items as well as five editions of the programme Khara Sach, a current affairs programme broadcast between 14 May 2014 and 27 May 2014 by the Licensee.

The complainants objected to critical references on ARY News about the Independent Media Corporation, and in particular, allegations that services owned by the company, including Geo TV, had committed blasphemy against the religious character Mohammed.

Ofcom noted that the allegations of blasphemy arose from the broadcast of the programme Utho Jago Pakistan on Geo TV in Pakistan on 14 May 2014. This edition of Utho Jago Pakistan featured a re-enactment of the wedding of the programme's guests Veena Malik, a Pakistani actress, and Assad Khan Khattak, including a group of live musicians performing a renowned devotional qawwali. The singing of this qawwali during the re-enactment of the wedding was criticised by some clerics and parts of the Pakistani media as disrespectful to Mohammed.

We noted that the complainants in this case considered that the four news items listed above were not duly impartial. The complainants also considered the news items and the five editions of Khara Sach contained: one sided hate speech in all reports .

This religious song, playing in the background of a fake marriage led to inevitably extreme consequences.

The owner of Pakistan's biggest media group, Geo TV along with actor Veena Malik and her husband was sentenced to 26 years in prison by an anti-terrorism court for allegedly airing a blasphemous programme. Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of Geo and Jang group, was accused of allowing the airing of a blasphemous programme by Geo television in May, which played a religious song while staging a mock marriage of Malik with Bashir.

The Judge also sentenced both Malik and Bashir along with TV host Shaista Wahidi for 26 years each. The ATC also imposed a 1.3 million Pakistani rupees fine on the convicts and ordered that their properties should be sold to raise the fine, if they failed to pay it.

The judge said in his judgment that all four accused committed profanity. There are reports that all four are out of Pakistan. Rahman resides in the UAE and the other three also went abroad after receiving threats by militant organisations. It is not known when the arrests would be carried out.

It is a little unfair to sum up reams of Ofcom justification in a couple of lines, but the most pertinent comments were:

Our view was that the alternative viewpoints presented during the programmes were insufficient, given the range and frequency of strongly critical comments against Independent Media Corporation and the Pakistani Government.

We also observed that: despite the fact that the story covered in the bulletins centred on material broadcast by Geo TV, during the four news programmes only one brief referencewhich could be reasonably described as offering the Independent Media Corporation's viewpoint was included (It just runs a ticker stating that they regret if someone's feelings have been hurt) and that this itself contained an implied criticism of that broadcaster.

We concluded that, on the specific facts of this case, the news programmes were not presented with due impartiality and were therefore in breach of Rule 5.1 of the Code.

(Rule 5.1: News in whatever form. Must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality) .


17th December

  Ho Ho Holy Crap It's Xmas...

Card sums up the Daily Mail and its silly story of Christmas card 'outrage'
Link Here
holy crap The Daily Mail recommends Scribbler cards:

In times past, they would have carried greetings of goodwill amid peaceful Yuletide scenes. Christmas cards of today are just as likely to sport obscene, offensive or even anti-Christian messages. The main offender is the stationery chain Scribbler which stocks the explicit cards in full view of children.

One carries the slogan: Ho Ho Ho Mother Fucker ; a second features Father Christmas under the slogan Merry Kiss My Ass ; a third says on the front: This Christmas Treat Yourself to some Arse .

Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust spouted:

Crude and offensive greetings cards have no place in high street stores. Parents should be able to shop with their children without being confronted by products that are calculated to cause embarrassment or offence.

Some of the cards reflect a deep-seated prejudice against Christianity. It is hard to imagine such blasphemous and sacrilegious sentiments being tolerated if they were targeted at any other religion.

Kathy McGuinness, of Childs Eyes UK, which campaigns against sexy images, spouted:

Our concern is for what children see, but a lot of adults and Christians would find these cards and images offensive. It is not appropriate for children, if you look at the language the firm is using. We have a broadcasting watershed on TV.

We have to be very careful about making jokes about other religions, but when it comes to Christianity it seems to be open season.

John Proctor, who owns the Scribbler chain said:

It is all a question of one's own standards and viewpoint. There should be humour in religion. I know our local vicar finds a lot of the cards that we sell are amusing. I don't think the fact that someone has a particular religious inclination, feeling or faith should preclude humour.


15th December

  Extreme Oppression...

Christians and Secularists join forces to point out the nastiness that will surely be enabled by Extremist Disruption Orders
Link Here
Theresa May Anyone who criticises same-sex marriage or Sharia law could be branded an extremist under proposed new powers, Christians and atheists have jointly warned.

The fresh expression of concern comes from The Christian Institute and the National Secular Society who have raised fears over planned Extremist Disruption Orders (EDOs), recently outlined by Home Secretary Theresa May.

EDOs, which are designed to counter Islamic extremism, have been described as a threat to free speech and reminiscent of Tony Blair's notorious religious hatred Bill. Opinion

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, cautioned that Christians who criticise gay marriage or even argue that all religions are not the same could find themselves accused of extremism. He said:

Anyone who expresses an opinion that isn't regarded as totally compliant with the Equality Act could find themselves ranked alongside Anjem Choudary, Islamic State or Boko Haram.

Speaking to The Telegraph Online Keith Porteous Wood, Director of the National Secular Society, warned that secularists might be branded Islamophobic and racist because of their campaigns against the rise of Sharia law. He said:

A much better case needs to be made for introducing draconian measures such as Extremist Disruption Orders, which are almost unchallengeable and deprive individuals of their liberties.


15th December


Lily Allen's nativity scene at a gig attracts a couple of whinges
Link Here
Sheezus Lily Allen A few miserable gits have whinged at a show by pop star Lily Allen for a supposedly disrespectful recreation of the nativity at one of her concerts.

At a sold-out show at the O2 Academy in Brixton, she performed her song Sheezus , while sitting in a straw-covered manger. Her back-up dancers were dressed as a traditional donkey, a Christmas cracker and a gift. The stage was illuminated with dozens of giant, lit-up baby bottles and Lily was joined by the Capital Children's Choir.

Conservative MP Martin Vickers whinged:

This could be extremely offensive to many Christians.

It is important that all religions are given the respect they deserve and I can certainly understand why some Christians believe their deeply held views are being squeezed out.

[But religions do get the respect they deserve!...none!]

It's been a long time since we've heard from Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, but it wasn't really worth the wait, he whimpered:

It is tasteless, it is disrespectful and it is crass.


15th December

 Update: Prohibiting Criticism...

Newspaper cartoon criticising Islamic State held as blasphemous in Indonesia
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Indonesia...Blasphemy applied to slight deviations of belief
jakarta post is The Jakarta Post has defended the publication of a cartoon criticising Islamic State (IS) militants, after its editor was arrested for blasphemy.

The cartoon shows a flag similar to ones used by IS with the words there is no God but Allah , and a skull and crossbones.

The Post, a leading English-language daily, said the cartoon was meant as a critique of the use of religious symbols in acts of violence.

But some Muslim groups said the cartoon was offensive towards Islam. The Post apologised and retracted the cartoon on 8 July, saying it regretted the error in judgement .

But later police named the Jakarta Post's editor-in-chief, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, as a suspect for supposed religious defamation.

Rights group Amnesty International has condemned the move by police. In a statement the group said the incident went against President Joko Widodo's commitment to press freedom in Indonesia.


14th December

  Wrapped up in PC Cotton Wool...

Ludicrous sensitivity to swastika forming a small part of an intricate pattern used for wrapping paper
Link Here
gift wrap walgreens Wrapping paper featuring a blue and silver design has been withdrawn from shops after a complaint that the gift wrap featured swastikas.

A shopper noticed the paper in a display for the jewish holiday of Hanukkah  at a branch of Walgreens in California, US, and complained.

Hallmark Cards apologised and said that any similarity to a swastika was unintentional, adding that the pattern has been in the company's reference archives for several years:

As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we began taking steps to remove the gift wrap from all store shelves and we will ensure the pattern is not used on any product formats going forward, a company statement said. We sincerely apologise for this oversight and for any unintended offense.


13th December

  Deeper Thought Required...

New Zealand manager arrested for an ill advised use of Buddha imagery in a Burmese bar promotion
Link Here

buddha headphones A New Zealand bar manager has been detained in Burma for using a commonplace image of the Buddha wearing headphones in a promotion. Police claimed the promotion was an insult to the Buddhist religion.

General manager Philip Blackwood, owner Tun Thurein and manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin were detained for police questioning and the bar was shuttered after a complaint by an official from Myanmar's Religious Department.

The Facebook posting for the newly opened V Gastro bar , a tapas restaurant and nightclub in a Yangon embassy area, showed a psychedelic mock-up of the Buddha wearing DJ headphones to trail a cheap drinks night this Sunday, AFP reported.

The bar deleted the post and wrote an apology on its Facebook page: Our intention was never to cause offence to anyone or toward any religious group. Our ignorance is embarrassing.